Wallpaper pads and individual pieces of paper are for testing nibs, pens, ink and random thoughts. Wall paper, ripped to various sizes, is a lovely medium to write on. Some pens don’t think it is though!
No particular plan or formula. Just pick up the intended try out fountain pen, dip nib and ink combination and write a bunch of nonsense. So wallpaper scraps are eco friendly in reality.
Familiar paper for consistency is obviously not going to produce consistency with different inks and pens. But it’s a good base to start. I remember a Moleskine journal ruined with a wet ink and a generous nib. After that? Paper scraps became the norm.
Also. Your style of writing does change with different nibs. Subtly, but change it does. Interestingly. Some nibs allow you to write in a freedom with gusto and your style becomes either poor letter shapes or flamboyant opposites. Poor lettering? Rather like writing quickly sometimes at end of day in the Nursing notes. That’s when I really wanted to get home badly and my shift had overrun by an hour or two. Believe me. That unpaid overtime happened regularly. But usually I enjoyed the act of writing so much that I did take effort and used tidy shapes to words considerations 90% of the time.
Thing is. Some nibs love a fight too. They battle because they don’t want their thoughts as a permanent record. They scratch, bite and spit globules at the paper. Leave empty stroke lines in letters like it’s an act of purposeful unfinished business. They get bored of producing glorious ink. They simply don’t want to be there. Ink and pen is not a glorious marriage. Or? Maybe they threw a hump at being presented to lowly wallpaper. Nope! Tried them on other nicer papers and they still remain temperamental. Stay in the housing pen pouch then! For a few months. That’ll give you time to think! They come out….and behave even more badly. But I do like a challenge and often try them out again and again. Albeit give them a different ambient setting. Music usually. Bit of classical or New Age to soothe their nerves. Or a bit of punk to get them pogo dancing. Or a bit of Status Quo to get them head banging. Or light. Candles or Edison bulbs. Who am I kidding here? The ambience is for my well being. Not for a pen that is argumentative. And who never appreciated music since the day it was born. Well. Apart from the Osmiroid music pen that is.
The Squiggle Pen is a great example of that fight scenario. So is Silver Slim. Names given because they are simply un-named pens. Squiggle has barrel decorative squiggles. Nothing to do with the way he writes. Silver is….well, silver and slim! Now both behave really well and are a joy to use. Squiggle is heavy though. And due to my fascination with posting every single pen I own (posting is putting the pen cap onto the barrel end and therefore writing with the weight of whole pen still) he has a quarter of his weight added when needn’t be. The posting of cap and barrel fit together with plastic friction keeping it in place. Silver Slim? She is a joy with the posting sound of soft click to keep in place and subsequent italic lines splendour. Pens are both male and female. Yes they are. VeeDubs are usually only female in my thinking. But male names are given by other owners too.
Little scenarios really matter with individual pens. I’d hate a pen who is soulless and lacking character. Give me my Kaweko with loose posting cap that turns as you write everyday over one that behaves. Why? Because the prose we put down together becomes a game. A memory that sticks in your mind. Like when making pottery and listening to Sherlock Holmes’ plays on Radio 4. The synergy of Hound of the Baskervilles and Grimwell Arkenthorpe the Fire Sorcerer is cemented in the whole experience. Add some coffee and porridge to the synergy and it becomes a stamped with ’the time of day I made it’ too.
That is what pen and ink does. When I write ‘God rest ye Merry gentlemen’ then the scene is future memory set. The vinyl playing the Choir singing, mince pies and a bourbon, quiet candlelight and a new pen or ink to try out. All synergy. All event time stamped.
Synergy in the act of writing with pen and ink. That’s why we love fountain pens and dip nibs I suppose. It’s why I do.
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